Despite Struggles in Cleveland, Carrasco Thrives in Columbus
Matt Travis | On 06, May 2013
Carlos Carrasco has struggled in Cleveland with control, not just over the baseball but over his emotions as well. During his only start this season in Cleveland, Carrasco was pitching poorly against New York Yankees when he gave up his second home run in less than four innings. The next batter, Kevin Youkilis, Carrasco intentionally hit and was ejected from the game and suspended for eight games.
After getting suspended for the second time for hitting a batter as an Indian, rather than take a roster spot serving his suspension, Carrasco was sent down to Triple-A Columbus, with the hopes he can pitch well and show that he is worth bringing back. So far he has pitched well, going 23.2 innings over five games, giving up only 14 hits, five runs, four walks and one home run while striking out 24 batters and earning a 1-0 record with one save.
Carrasco pitched his first game in Columbus on April 15 against the Louisville Bats, coming in for the sixth inning, piggybacking Scott Kazmir’s rehab start, pitching all four innings and earning the save. He had a very solid outing, pitching four perfect innings with two strike outs to help the Clippers win. It seemed in his first start that his suspension had not affected his ability to pitch well and control a lineup top to bottom, like he is capable of doing.
His next outing went just as well, this time however as the starting pitcher, against the Toledo Mudhens. During his first minor league start of the year, Carrasco was able to pitch six innings, giving up only two hits and one walk. The most impressive part of his day was the fact he was able to strike out 10 batters, accounting for over half of his outs for the day.
Carrasco’s second start continued his scoreless streak against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders. While his start was the shortest of the season up to that point, only four and two thirds innings, he still pitched very well giving up five hits, one walk, no runs and struck out four batters. He was forced to leave the game when a line drive drilled him in the pitching elbow. Carrasco was able to pitch himself out of the problems he got into, causing ground ball outs to hold base runners in place and allow no runs. Luckily, the liner did not do any long term damage and Carrasco was able to make his next start.
The scoreless streak had to end at some point and it finally did during his fourth start of the season at the Pawtucket Red Sox. Carrasco had his worst start of the season, only going three innings, giving up three hits, one walk, only striking out one while giving up his only home run of the season. Despite this mistake Carrasco showed much better poise in this game then he had against the Yankees as he was able to control his emotion and not do anything irrational. Despite his poor start and giving up four earned runs, he did not receive the loss for the game.
On Sunday, Carrasco had his most recent start again the Rochester Redbirds and was able to bounce back quite nicely from his lackluster performance the start before. Carrasco was able to pitch six innings, while only giving up a single run on four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. It seemed as though whenever he would allow his hits he would follow it up with a nicely timed ground ball or strike out. His only mistake was on back-to-back doubles to allow his only run. He was able to earn his only decision of the season during this start, finally having enough run support behind him to earn his first win.
Carrasco has had a very successful start to his season in Columbus, as he has been able to earn a strong 1.90 ERA over his 23.2 innings pitched. He has a 8:1 strikeout to walk ratio, with an opponent batting average of only .171. Overall, Carrasco has been able to control the batters at the Triple-A level, keeping them off balance and guessing at his pitches. While we have not seen too much of him in pressure and high stress situations, what has been seen so far is a much more controlled and composed Carrasco than he has shown in the Majors.
This ability to keep pitching well, with the strikeout numbers remaining high and his walks and hit numbers remaining so low, along with his ability to control his emotions when things go array are the keys to getting him back to the Indians soon. While it seems during the six game winning streak that the Indians pitching has started to settle in, Carrasco has the stuff to be a member of the Tribe’s rotation. Carrasco’s suspension however, is a huge cloud hanging over his head. Carrasco must keep pitching like an ace and shown they can no longer keep him in Triple-A any longer if he hopes to get the Indians to call him up, creating another roster shuffle and have the suspension served.